Sunday, June 3, 2018

Walk Away, James

I was so ready for a good walk on a beautiful day.

To start, I began by giving myself permission to skip Broad Appetit this year.

Which means when I finally set out to walk around 11:00, the festival was just getting going, necessitating me navigating past all things Broad Appetit. It didn't, however, stop me from giving props to a volunteer at Jefferson Street who'd come prepared with chair, boom box tuned to vintage soul, large thermos and lunch box. Clearly not his first Broad Appetit rodeo.

Downtown was deserted, making for an easy walk cutting diagonally through empty parking lots as I came down the hill to the still muddy brown river. The downside of walking the canal walk was hearing a pipsqueak of a tour guide explain to his group that the Street Art Festival murals they were standing in front came about as a way to deal with what he called "blighted properties." I almost interrupted his patter to suggest "neglected properties" was a far more apt term.

Tell me about the blight, son, because I recall zero blight. Know what you're talking about before you go spouting off. But who am I to stop some twit from foisting his misconceptions on visitors?

I'm just a walker who hasn't been on the pipeline walkway in weeks and was determined to correct that today. That the weather was perfect for being outside - overcast, 72 degrees and breezy, especially at the river - only validated what I'd known when I set out: that this was going to be a good walk. Even finding a "trail closed" sign at the end of the pipeline walkway didn't dismay me (though I did re-attach one side of the sign to ensure the closed message was clear) because looking at the pipeline surrounded by raging river ahead, I knew people didn't belong on it.

But walking into the wind, against the direction of the water flowing, is not my usual direction, so I especially enjoyed the fierceness of the river's energy walking west. Strangely, returning in my usual direction was anti-climatic after that.

Capital Square was shady and quiet, but things got livelier once I hit the bustle of Broad Street. Fellow walker and Valentine director Bill Martin paused long enough on his way back up Church Hill to entreat me to go to Broad Appetit, though he wouldn't tell me what he'd eaten.

"Do you have a husband?" a smiling man joked to me further on. "Because I'd like to discuss that with you." Crossing First Street, a guy smiled politely and leaned toward me. "If you keep walking like that down there (gestures with head toward Broad Appetit), you're going to cause a traffic jam." I don't care if he was making it up as he went along, I thanked him with a smile.

And thought to myself, ah, yes, the Broad Appetit crowd has arrived. My presence here is no longer required.

Pardon me while I get ready for the rest of my Sunday and the reason for my comment-worthy happy mood. Lucky me, I finally have my own compliment source.

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